Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Flat wound strings on an archtop


slk

Recommended Posts

I played flatwounds on a semi-hollow ES guitar with a pair of P90s for more than fifteen years. The gauges were .012" - .016" - .020"w - .030"w - .041"w - .056"w. They feel great, in particular to the fretting hand, and put out that pure vintage tone. To me the most striking feature is the smooth tone colour across the entire set. There is no notable change in timbre between wound G3rd and plain B2nd, impossible with roundwounds.

 

The wound ones offer less overtones than roundwounds, in attack as well as in sustain. The level decay is more consistent than with roundwound sets. Combined with the mellow tone due to conservative highs, it results in a better string separation making chords sound very transparent, in particular when using clean amp settings.

 

Hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put D'addario Chrome Flats on my new 175 Premium. Hollows can't take the jangle of roundwounds and sounded dumb with my usual Ernies on it but hey, they were all I had when I got it home. As Cap says up there, the timbre is much smoother, more even. I'll probably chuck a set on one of the solids for chuckles and see if I'm going to go all Flats in the future. And yes, no finger on string noise at all.

 

rct

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For an example of flats, any Wes Montgomery album will give an idea.

 

They are a different animal for sure. I suppose you could rock with them, but that doesn't make them ideal for that.

 

But if you are looking for a smooth, Jazzy tone, there is much to discover playing them. It can change your whole technique and perspective on how to make a guitar sound, how to chord, everything. And again, if you are looking for a certain thing, they can sure get you there a lot more than a lot of things like pedals and such.

 

The best way to go, if you are questioning, is to go for it.

 

I go back and forth on my L-7. I love the fact that you can go quite heavy with them and they get easier to play. Love the way they tune, and love the way they seem to have a certain "clarity" to them even though they are generally not bright. There is much more to clarity and definition than treble frequencies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of the reply's today. I took a chance and put flat wounds Thomastik on mine today, and had it set up, and I am just about a happy as a pig in s___. They have a wonderful sound and I am so pleased. I have had this guitar for a week now and have been fighting it for just as long. It just was not producing the tones I wanted. But I will say now that it has been set up with the flat wounds I am pleased to no end...

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Several years ago I had an Emperor Regent with flat wound strings installed. They were quite "smooth" to the touch and didn't let too much "finger squeal" through, dig it ? I'm going to put a set or 2 on a couple of my P93's toomsp_thumbup.gif. They sounds "smooth" too... hard to explain in words...lolmsp_biggrin.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I can tell for sure in tonal quality the difference these strings have made. I mean it is like night and day difference. I am talking playability and tone. I have to be honest I was seriously thinking of returning the guitar to GC. I kept going to a you tube video of a guy playing a Riviera like mine and the tone was just amazing, and told myself if he can get that tone I sure can too. It is amazing how much difference flat wound can make. Hey I can even turn my reverb up and play surf music. To be honest I think the combination of a good setup and the flatwounds is what has made the night and day difference. I am a very happy camper with this gorgeous guitar....

 

Thanks so much to all of you that have commented and kept my hopes up for this guitar. A great forum.......

 

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I had been thinking about trying flats on my Gretsch HB Electromatic, but heard they're much tougher to bend than rounds.

Maybe it's just something that takes some time to get used to/build up the additional finger strength. [confused]

What are the lightest flats available that anyone might recommend for a guy that plays EB super slinkys in 9-42?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been thinking about trying flats on my Gretsch HB Electromatic, but heard they're much tougher to bend than rounds.

Maybe it's just something that takes some time to get used to/build up the additional finger strength. [confused]

What are the lightest flats available that anyone might recommend for a guy that plays EB super slinkys in 9-42?

I have Chromes 10-48 on my Gretsch Tennessee Rose. Sounds and plays great, and above all, no string squeal! Try some, if you do not like them, you are only out the cost of the strings, which is not a lot.

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've battled with strings on archtops forever but finally did not give up until I got my answer, no second guessing, just "keep trying strings until I find it" mission. I recently bought a rock-bottom 1949 L-48 strung with rusty nickel 10s. I had to order new tuner buttons (to replace uber rotted ones that crumbled to the touch) and wanted to take my time dressing the fret ends and polishing the board so I slapped on a set of Darco bronze 12-54. Pretty awful twangy tone; cheap strings and sounded like cheap strings. Once I got the new buttons on and board cleaned, I put on a set of D'Addario 11-50 flats. Smooth but not enough mass to get any sound out of. I then tried a set of D'Addario 13-56 phosphor bronze. The mass and power was there but the finger squeak drowned out the guitar. I finally put on a set of D'Addario 13-56 flat chromes and I believe I'm "there".

 

And just to satisfy my curiosity, I changed to the flats one string at a time and test drove it after I changed each string. Maybe I'm stupid but aside from an absolute lack of finger noise, I really couldn't tell any difference in tone. Sounds crazy but I'm speaking what I heard.

 

13-56 flats on acoustic archtops yes. On an electric...who knows? I would think I'd want to bend the strings more on a 175 or 335 type, so maybe a lighter set.

 

Sad that lighter gauge flats seldom show up in little shops. If they DO have flats, they're 12s or 13s. Maybe Strat and LP players would like them if they were more readily available in 10-46 or such.

 

Soapbox out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have Chromes 10-48 on my Gretsch Tennessee Rose. Sounds and plays great, and above all, no string squeal! Try some, if you do not like them, you are only out the cost of the strings, which is not a lot.

Pete

 

Hey Pete, I put a set aside in my Amazon cart.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give them a try. [thumbup]

 

As I promised in my very first post here (a few weeks ago) describing my enthusiasm for my first 'ever' Epi ... an LE Explorer in TV Sliver, I did in fact "get more soon" ... and had a very fun NGW (new gear week) this past week. [smile]

With all the great sales over the T-day holidays, I had a guitar-a-day being delivered (with two more to arrive over the next week or so) ... so I'll complete the order with Amazon for those D'addario flats once I settle in on what other miscellaneous things I'm going to want to get for these new guys.

 

Also, as soon as the dust settles and the last two guitars out of my "binge buy" get here, I'll post pictures and a back story (especially behind the poor "mistreated" Crestwood, that's unfortunately going back :( ).

 

They include Epi:

Genesis LE DLX Pro in sunburst (really cool little guitar)!

Les Paul BLack Beauty 3 (this will replace my pre-law suit Ibanez BB3 ..... that I never should have sold). [crying]

Limited Edition 1966 G-400 PRO in Pelham Blue (not a Gibby to be sure, but sounds pretty darn good).

1962 50th Anniversary Crestwood Custom (this ones's story is a real heartbreaker) :-({|=

Limited Edition Wilshire Pro TV Silver (I'm lukewarm on this guy ..... so far).

 

And yet to arrive:

An Indoneasian Nighthawk Custom Reissue in honey burst (I think I'm going to like it as much as I do the BB3)

 

And for grins/nostalgia ..... a BC Rich NJ Warlock neck-through in trans. midnight blue (and so 'now' I'm on the hunt for a coffin case [laugh] ).

 

Thanks again for the tip Pete,

 

Flyer "Epis' got me by the throat" 91

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"ribbon wound", not "flat wound"..

now "half flats"...try those too..msp_thumbup.gif

 

I'm familiar with semi/half-rounds (ground round-wounds) but ignoring metallurgy ..... how are "ribbon wounds" physically and/or sonically different than these flat-wounds that Pete recommended? [confused]

 

81rkJ13gb%2BL._SL1500_.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in the early to mid '60s, almost everybody I knew who played guitar was using or alternating with flats. I played 'em exclusively from about '65 through 67 or so. Then I'd mess with strings to the point that the only way I knew what I was playing was to look at the package I left in the guitar case.

 

Even used some tapewounds at one point.

 

There also are some exceedingly light flats available if you look at string-only type vendors.

 

Right now I only have flats on my Gretsch archtop. They sound fine. Play fine. Do I wanna keep 'em on that guitar? I dunno.

 

m

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how are "ribbon wounds" physically and/or sonically different than these flat-wounds

 

"Flat Wounds" and "Ribbon Wounds" are just different MFG's name for the same thing. Just a marketing ploy! I guess "Ribbon Wounds" could be added to the same list, except that I play "Nylon Ribbon Wound" LaBella's, which are definitely different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...